Coastal Watershed Restoration Project Final Phase Starts Next Week
Contact: Brannon Ketcham, 415-464-5192
Fish passage and estuarine process will be restored -- Miles of streams will be available for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout
The park is initiating the second and final year of the Coastal Watershed Restoration Project, which includes replacement or removal of culverts and fish passage problems within the Drakes Estero watershed. The project will restore natural stream process and improve fish passage in Laguna, Muddy Hollow, Glenbrook, Home Ranch and East Schooner Creek, which will benefit federally threatened steelhead trout, and potentially endangered coho salmon. In addition, removal of two dams will restore estuarine processes to the inner arms of the Estero de Limantour. The project will also reduce the maintenance demands at Point Reyes, eliminate the risk of major failure of culverts and dams, and increase sustainability, both operationally and ecologically within these small coastal watersheds. Once completed, the entire length of Muddy Hollow creek will be available for fish spawning that should benefit coho salmon and steelhead trout, both federally listed species.
In 2008, project activities will occur at three locations in the Limantour area between August 1 and October 15. Work will be accomplished by the NPS and its contractor, Hanford Construction. These activities include removal of fill and restoration of estuarine process adjacent to the Limantour Beach parking lot and access.
Removal of dams to restore estuarine habitat and fish passage. At the Limantour Beach access point, the project will remove a culvert and install a 30 meter (100 foot) long pedestrian bridge from the Limantour Beach main parking lot to the beach. The bridge would replace existing beach access in a manner that will restore natural conditions to the Estero de Limantour and increase estuarine habitat at Point Reyes. In addition, the project will remove Muddy Hollow Dam, resulting in restoration of estuarine habitat and fish passage to the watershed. A smaller area of freshwater pond habitat will be retained to provide habitat for California red-legged frog and waterbirds.
Temporary access trail will provide public access. A temporary trail will be constructed from the parking area to the beach. The temporary detour trail will lead from the vault toilets west along the Muddy Hollow Trail to a tidal berm. At this location, there will be tidal gates installed and the trail will be placed overtop heading south to a point on the Limantour Spit Trail to allow visitors access to the beach.
The contractors will stage near the Muddy Hollow Dam and not in the Limantour Beach parking lot. There will be times when trucks will be going from the Limantour Beach Pond Dam to the Muddy Hollow Dam area, but traffic will be infrequent and hopefully there will only be a slight delay and inconvenience to visitors.
Estero Trail Reroute. Removal of dam and culvert crossings to restore natural process has necessitated the rerouting of the southeastern section of the Estero Trail. The new section of the Estero Trail will be open to the public on August 1, 2008. The eastern trailhead for the Estero Trail will now be at the Muddy Hollow Road Trailhead, instead of at Limantour Beach.
In 2007, the NPS and its contractor, Hanford Construction completed replacement restoration activities at four sites to enhance fish passage and reduce maintenance requirements. In addition to these improvements, the NPS trails program completed two trail reroutes to Estero Trail and Muddy Hollow Trail.